So, CLS is an intensive program, and we were warned about that long before we accepted their scholarship. So far, I have no complaints, even though we get little time to ourselves. The teachers are ammmmmazing; I haven't heard a negative thing about any teacher from anyone as of yet. The classes are fun, and the "speaking partners" (will explain in a sec who they are) are sooo much fun to be with and they're very helpful.
Basically, we were divided into 2 groups, group A and group B. Group A = those students studying at the level of Intermediate 5 and above, and group B = those studying from Beginning to Intermediate I. I'm in group A, and here's what my schedule looks like. It's not the same every single day, but I'll just tell you what it's been like so far. ... Oh, and why am I telling you this? 'Cause I feel like it. (Shoot. There's a word for this in Arabic... learned it yesterday, but clearly, it didn't stick in! It should be in my notes somewhere. I'll use it on you later. Mush mushkil (no worries).)
7-7:30am - wake up and get ready
7:30 - 8am - leave for the center (the one right up the street) to eat breakfast and socialize a bit (and talk in Arabic only :S We signed a language pledge the other day to talk only in Arabic during all program activities. It's actually not bad, even if it means a lotta the time Qrratugai has to be quiet 'cause she can't say what's really on her mind.)
8:00am-ish - take the bus to the center where we're studying Arabic (it's about 10 minutes away by bus)
8:30am - Fus'ha (Modern Standard Arabic) class
9:30-9:40 - break
9:40 - 10:30 - continue Fus'ha class
10:30 - break
10:45ish - 12-ish Media class (it's basically reading from this media book with a lot of text with questions following it and all. It's basically written Arabic that appears in the media)
12 - 12:45 - LUNCH (we've been trying different restaurants close to the center every day :D They're sooo good! And the foood... OH EM GEEEE! I love, love, looove Middle Eastern food more than I ever did before! :D I should like take some pics and make you jealous by posting them here in the blog, no? k.)
12:45-1:50-ish - 'Amia class (spoken/colloquial Arabic, with a focus on the dialect of this country)
2 - end of classes at that center
2-3 - break time for me. So far, I've just been spending 50 minutes of this hour figuring out what to do during that time that won't involve Arabic, haha. And then next thing I know, it's 3 o'clock!
3-3:30 - conversation with my speaking partner. You see, we have these really awesome speaking partners who talk to us *only* in colloquial. If we use fus'ha with them, they correct us and teach us the colloquial words/expressions. They also take us around the city (so far, only the city; haven't the time to leave the city just yet, but this Saturday is our first trip out, ka khairee! :D) and show us around and all. We get to ask them for nice restaurants, salons, malls, etc. And, so, during the conversation we have from 3-30:30 (some people's is from 3-3:30; others from 3:30-4, and it goes up to 5. And about 7 people share the same speaking partner.) Since I'll be using her name often, I'm sure, lemme tell you that her name starts with M. So let's call her M, k? And damn - she's gooorgeous, mashaAllah! But then again, we think all the women of this country are beautiful, LOL. They really are! And their make-up?! Oh God, it's to die for! It toootally goes with them... as opposed to women from many other places around the world, who shower themselves with make-up and still look ugly. I've never been a fan of make-up, but I may change my mind after I visit some salons here :D Starting in a couple of days, ka khaireeee! :D Oh yeah, and our topic of conversation today was: Salons! Learned all the things I need to know to visit a salon -- for now, anyway.
5-6: Al-'amia class (colloquial/dialect). It's an extra class that we were to have all this week only. Today was the last day. We learned terms/expressions that have to do with getting/giving direction to a place (left, right, "keep straight for a loooong time," near this particular center, etc.). Since Ahmed is a common name all over the Muslim world, I guess I can tell you that our teacher's name is Ahmed for this class. He's also a speaking partner for another group of people. He's sooooooo funny! He claims he can't flirt, but, girrrrrl, he tooootally was on the roll when he was showing us how the girls of this country (or Arab/Mid Eastern girls in general, I am sure) want and expect to be treated and where and all. It was more a cultural lesson. Hilarious stuff, I tell you. He and M. acted for us, and it was so cool!
6-7-ish - dinner!!! In case I haven't said this before, the food is too delicious for me to describe it! Ahhhh!! We had a special chef, popular around the country, come to this place to cook just for us, we were told :) He's talented! Tf, tf, mashaaaaAllah.
7-12-ish: Work on homework/studying, lol. No, seriously, it does take that long :S Takes longer sometimes, even! But it's not like all we do is homework during that time.We take breaks, and we talk and socialize and laugh like crazy, and I sometimes chat with friends and family in the U.S./Pakistan in between. But it's fun to do homework together, so 4 or of 5 people in my class and I usually do it together.
Oh, and yesterday, between 7:30 (I think ... or maybe 7?) and 9:30, I went shopping for a jacket. I think by now, most of the students in the program knew I needed a jacket :p it was funny :D I mean, whaaat - it's rrreally cold here, especially at night. For me, anyway. (Remember: I'm tiny, so the little meat I do have doesn't help me much.) I wanted to get some nice hijabs and hijab pins, too, but guess what!! Some of the stores were selling hijabs for 38 dinars :| Like, what the hell! The hijab pins were cheap, though, or I thought they were - till a friend told me you can get 10 of them for a dinar in Downtown. I got 5 for a dinar in that one shop. It didn't have the dangling ones that I couldn't wait to get and still can't wait to get, so I still have to go shopping for those soon. So, yeah.
I think that'd be all for now... I have homework to take care of, remember? :)
P.S. Sorry about such a broad title for this post ... I still don't wanna name the country, so I have to say "Midd East" until I tell you (or until you guess, whichever comes first, haha) which country it be, k?